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Life of the party

Imagine being invited to the most wonderful party of the year. Everyone is dressed to the nines, feeling happy, smelling fresh, ready to enjoy a great time. The music is just right- all your favorite familiar tunes are playing, and some new ones that inspire you. The mood is sublime: relaxed yet alert, full of kindness, and everyone is ready to laugh and dance. 

Yet, for some reason, maybe you hang back. Maybe you feel worried about your outfit. Maybe you feel shy because you don't know everyone. Maybe there is something in your personal life that is troubling you, and you're worried about being a "downer."

Each and every day we have the choice to participate fully in the celebration of life. The birds singing in the morning are the best playlist. Fresh, clean water, readily available to so many of us, is the best cocktail in town. The hug of a loved one is the hippest dance move. The fact that every day at twilight the sky turns a sort of purply-gold is better than a disco ball or light show. The comfy outfit you wear to do yard work is the cutest fashion statement!

Amidst an entire life in which you are always the guest of honor at the rocking, rolling party of everything, there will also always be downers, party fouls, and other obstacles to your joy. Depression is a real thing that is both situational and chemical. There is injustice happening all over the planet every day because some of the party guests are drunk on power, or filled with rage and hate. Even some of the smallest things, like losing a parking spot, will make us feel like the party is ruined, if only just for that day.

It's not always possible to be the life of the party when you're not feeling it. And yet, in a very real way, you are always in attendance at the party of life, and welcome to take joy in whatever parts you CAN connect with. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to construct an experience, or do everything perfectly. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to "get it right" or to worry about who is getting it wrong. Just look around at where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with, and seek to jump in fully to the joy that is available, even in the smallest doses. What makes the biggest difference is your willingness to participate in the party of life, even when things don't always feel perfect in every way.

Join the dance. You're allowed. Just try a simple step. They are already playing your song.